The Hornets dropped their first game of the season this past week, in their last game before the holidays against Carterville on December 21. The Hornets then started play in the Mater Dei Tournament, which features twenty-five games in just five days. The Hornets were the very first game of the tournament against Metro-East Lutheran on December 27 at 9 a.m.
The Hornets' unbeaten streak was stopped at eight against Carterville on December 21. The Hornets jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, as they raced out to a 6-0 lead behind five points from Bryce Bultman. The Hornets would go on to hold a 9-4 lead after the first quarter.
In the second, the Hornets would build their lead as high as 11-4, but Carterville would make a run. The Lions would end the quarter on a 13-4 run to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.
After the break, the Lions would continue to build their lead. The Lions scored six of the first seven points of the quarter to build a seven point lead. A three pointer by Ryan Brink cut into the lead, but Carterville could come back and score six of the final seven points to hold a 29-20 lead going into the fourth.
In the final quarter of play, the Hornets started off slow, as Carterville built their lead to eleven points in the early going. But the Hornets would make things interesting, as they scored six straight points to cut Carterville's lead to just five points. The Hornets would continue to chip away as a bucket by Hayden Heggemeier cut the lead to four points. After a Carterville bucket, the Hornets would get a three from Brink to cut the lead to three with 1:45 remaining. Down the stretch the Hornets would get as close as two on a bucket by Bultman with 11 seconds remaining in the game, but Carterville would make four key free throws down the stretch to take the 43-37 win.
After the game, Brad Weathers talked about the team's first loss of the season. “We didn't shoot the ball well all night. For the most part, we didn't shoot free throws well. We're very capable obviously, but when that happens, you have to rely on your defense, and execution, and getting all of the little things done and we didn't do that tonight.